And the Wind Howled…

My second art fair was an adventure!

I had been preparing for an art fair for weeks. I spent many hours redesigning my display and display walls to streamline set up and take down. New paintings were ready to go. The fair was scheduled for the Saturday before last.

art, artist, artfair, painting, oil painting
Here is a photo of the set up in progress.

Set up went quickly. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law and a friend showed up to help. There were just a couple of small gusts of wind as we were setting up my display walls. I had checked my weather app and the most that was expected was 11 mph winds. We had added 90 lbs total to the legs, not including the weight of the display & paintings. I felt pretty sure that everything was stable and secure.

The morning and early afternoon were nice. I had a lot of enjoyable conversations with folks walking in the plaza enjoying the fair and friends stopping by to say hello. Around 3pm the wind started picking up. My display walls flexed in the wind, but the paintings were held firm on their hooks. By 3:30 I was getting worried. The wind was starting to disassemble the shelf displays of another artist. Boards from her displays were being lifted and pitched a couple of feet. My tent and displays seemed locked down, but the legs of the tent were shaking in the wind. My sister-in-law, who had arrived a little while before, said she would hold the fort while I ran to the vehicle to get stuff so we could start packing paintings. I sent a quick text to my husband “it’s getting windy..” as I hoofed it to the car as quickly as I could. By the time I got back with the packing materials four more family members had arrived at my tent and some started removing art and taking down my display walls while others kept a hand on the tent, just in case. I think we had everything packed into the van in record time..around 30 minutes. I am so grateful that my family was ready to jump in and help. Good thing the fair was close to home!

art fair, paintings
Impromptu outside wall display. I was in a new location this time so I decided not to put up the tent wall, instead using the back side of my wall display to hang a few sale items.

My sister-in-law told me that while I was at my vehicle one of the artists had a close call. Her tent lifted despite the sand bags on the feet of her tent. It nearly went over on the artist next to her. Thankfully the artist’s quick reaction as well help from those around her prevented the tent from doing any damage.

I came away with a few good lessons.

One: A little more weight on the legs might not hurt. I don’t think my tent would have lifted, but I would have been very nervous leaving my tent if my sister-in-law had not been there.

Two: Find packing materials for my paintings that are easier to use and protect the paintings better. It was very difficult to carefully pack paintings in cardboard while the wind was pulling at the paintings and the cardboard. I like reusing materials as much as possible, but I think this is an instance where I need to buy something specific for this purpose.

California, Landscape Painting California, Landscape painting, Artist, oil painting
California Sunset
9″x 12″ Oil on Hardboard

Three: I need a contingency plan in case of rain. The weather where I live is pretty stable and predictable and I tend to take that for granted. We are in a drought right now, but rain will come eventually and I would hate to get surprised by it.

Four: Weigh everything down well. I was using an 11×14 canvas flat on a table as a paperweight holding down some of my information materials. The wind grabbed and flipped the canvas over and sent the paper flying in the wind. I was able to retrieve the paper materials back, but I had to run before it all got carried too far.

I have also decided to simplify my set up. I am not going to hang as many small paintings and have decided to put a lot of them up for auction instead of taking them to shows. That’s what I learned from this show!

Mt Tam, Mt Tamalpais, Marin County, California, oil painting
Mountain Trek
12″ x 24″ Oil on Canvas.

I put up a different batch of paintings every week. Check out my eBay listings here. AbbyannaArt Ebay Listings


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